At the end of May, Forbes Magazine announces its many lists of top paid performers, musicians, entertainers, business executives and sport figures. Here are their picks for the Top Earning American Idol Contestants for 2010. One look at this list shows that a quality singer does not need to win on American Idol to make the most money.
1. Carrie Underwood – $13M
Carrie Underwood took first place again on the 2010 list with earnings of $13 million. This is reportedly $1 million less than her 2009 total earnings. Ever since she won American Idol in the fourth season, Carrie Underwood has won four Grammy Awards, 14 Billboard Music Awards and five American Music Awards. With the help of concert appearance and television specials, she has sold over 9.6 million records; a huge accomplishment for a waitress from Oklahoma.
2. Kelly Clarkson – $11.7M
Second place went to the very first American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson, with at total earnings of $11.7 million reported this year. Clarkson made more than double her reported earnings of $4.2 million in 2009, due to a much heavier touring schedule and concert performances. According to Nielson Sound Scan, Kelly Clarkson was one of the most often played recording artists on the radio last year. Her songs have also appeared in two movies, “Love Actually” and “Princess Diaries 2”. She is a regular winner of the Teen Choice Awards and was once again nominated for a Grammy Award in 2010.
3. Chris Daughtry – $10.2M
Third place on the list goes to Chris Daughtry, a final four finalist of season five. His reported earnings are $10.2 million this year compared to $2 million last year. Since leaving American Idol, Chris has sold over 5.7 million albums. His latest album, “Leave this Town” was releases last year and is still selling strong. On the list last year at position number seven, he has moved up to position three for 2010.
4. Kelly Picker – $7.6M
Miss Pickler, another country star, hits the list in position number four with reported earnings of $7.6 million. Not a winner of season five but a sixth placed finalist, Kelly Pickler has been able to sell over 1.3 million records since she left the Idol stage. Television appearances, such as on “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” ensures that her television fans still get to see her every once in a while. Earning $5 million more this year than last, Kelly Pickler moved up from position five in 2009 with reported earnings of $2.3 million.
5. Jordon Sparks – $3.7M
The youngest winner of American Idol, Jordan Sparks won in season six. She holds position number 5 this year with earnings of $3.7 million. Touring with Alicia Keys and the Jonas Brothers has kept her busy and resulted in her second album, “Battlefield” reaching number seven on the Billboard charts. Jordan Sparks was at position 4 last year with $3.1 million.
6. Jennifer Hudson – $3.5M
The third season American Idol winner, Jennifer Hudson is at position number six this year with $3.5 million. Her lighter touring schedule, fewer movie roles and end of her lucrative contractive with Avon have dropped Jennifer from position 2 in 2009 with $5 million. You may have noticed she has signed on as the latest spokesperson for Weight Watchers. With more movie roles and an album in the works, she should be able to stay on the list for next year.
7. David Cook – $2.8M
Another musician from Oklahoma, David Cook had reported earnings of $2.8 million last year and that puts him at position number seven. The winner of the seventh season of American Idol, his debut album reached number three on the Billboards Hot 100 list and his follow up album went Platinum. He is also adding to his earnings with a Sketchers shoe endorsement contract and television commercials. He moved up from number eight last year, with $2 million in reported earnings.
8. David Archuleta – $2.2M
David Archuleta may have lost to David Cook in season seven but that did not stop him from releasing a self-titled album that reached number two on the Billboard charts. With reported earnings of 2.2 million and over 100 live performances, David is sitting at position number 8, improving his lead from number nine last year. He also has a very large Twitter following of 375,000.
9. Clay Aiken – $2M
Clay Aiken, earning just over $2 million, is sitting at position number nine bumping Taylor Hicks off the list this year. Cheated out of winning American Idol in season two, the North Carolina teacher has a loyal following even six years after his loss to Ruben Studdard. Broadway saw what American Idol did not and hired Clay for a role in “Spamalot”. He has sold over four million albums and recently has published a best selling memoir, placing himself on the New York Times Best Seller list.
10. Kris Allen – $1.7M
Arkansas native, Kris Allen is new to the list this year, with reported earnings of $1.7 million at position number 10. Winning American Idol over Adam Lambert last year, Kris Allen signed with Jive Records and then released a self-titled album which reached number 11 on the Billboard 200 list. Performing in Las Vegas and touring around the country, Kris Allen should be able to improve his income this year.